From 1971 to 2006 it was famous and loved as “the hippest trip in America.”
“Soul Train,” created and hosted for most of its long run by Don Cornelius, started as a local dance and entertainment show in Chicago and went national, broadcasting from Los Angeles, in 1971.
It became “must” viewing for a huge number of people for two decades, in the process becoming a television icon.
Nick Cannon, popular actor, TV personality, comedian and husband of superstar Mariah Carey, has announced that “Soul Train” will be returning by way of his production company, NCredible, and air on NBC.
“It means so much for our culture,” said Cannon.
One would be hard-pressed to name any Black recording star who had not appeared on “Soul Train” once or, more likely, many times. A “Soul Train” appearance was symbolic of having “made it.” A number of White acts also performed on the show.
The syndicators of “Soul Train” targeted 24 markets outside of Chicago to carry the program, but only seven other cities, including Detroit, Atlanta, Houston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco, did initially. But its popularity resulted in all 24 being signed on by the end of the first season.
The dancers were as much a “Soul Train” attraction as the celebrities, probably more so. In fact, some became celebrities themselves.
Don Cornelius decided in mid-1993 that it was time for him to let others host the show. At first there was a guest host each week, but then a switch was made to regular hosts, starting with Mystro Clark, followed by Shemar Moore and Dorian Gregory.